The Revenge Of Luthor was the thirteen page Superman story in the issue, written by Jerry Siegel (his 5th silver age comic book story) and drawn by Al Plastino. It was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman vol. II.
Superman caught a meteor that was heading toward an airliner, only to discover that it was red kryptonite. It made the Man of Steel dizzy enough to make him fall out of the sky and crash into the ground. He had a nightmare of the swirling faces of Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Lana Lang and Superboy.
The Man of Steel awoke to find that he wasn't alone. He was joined by Superboy, his younger self. After using their x-ray vision to check their fingerprints, the Twins of Steel flexed their superpowers and realized they were the same person.
Superman changed into his Clark Kent identity, and so did Superboy. The elder Clark reminded his younger self that if people saw Superboy and Superman together, and then a younger and older Clark Kent, it would expose their secret identity. A very annoyed elder Clark Kent ordered his younger self to go the Fortress of Solitude and await his call by supersonic whistle.
Back in Metropolis, Clark worried about a dumb Superboy getting in the way of his Superman work, as Perry White assigned him to interview a bank president. As he neared the bank, a helicopter disguised as a flying saucer landed, and a gang of robbers disguised as aliens robbed the bank. Superman went into action, but Superboy collided with the Man of Steel. The robbers made their escape, and Superman took out his anger on Superboy, accusing him of being made stupid by the red kryptonite. Superboy accused Superman of becoming a grouch because of the red kryptonite.
Superman apologized to Superboy, and suggested they try to work together. They found a counterfeiter, but when Superboy examined a box with fake bills, his x-ray vision was too strong and ignited the evidence.
After they flew away, Superboy was distracted by a rodeo, and flew to the arena. Superman had to swoop in and corral the bulls which were driven berserk by Superboy's red cape. In front of the rodeo crowd Superman and Superboy made their disagreement public by arguing in front of the rodeo audience. The news flashed around the world, and caught the attention of Lex Luthor.
Superboy found a cage that had a sign posted above it, Luthor Trap To Capture Superboy! Enter Here, Please. Luthor may be an arch fiend, but at least he's polite. Superboy didn't think it could be a serious trap, so he entered it, only to discover that the bars of the sage were made of kryptonite.
Later, Superman was challenged to a fight by Superboy, only to discover that the Boy of Steel was a robot containing kryptonite, and was knocked out.
Superman and Superboy awoke to find themselves in Luthor's cave. Enclosed in a protective sphere, Lex had kidnapped Lois Lane and Lana Lang, to watch the two heroes fight to the death. Unfortunately for Luthor, they fought to a stalemate. Changing plans, Luthor made Superman lay face down on the ground. When he allowed the Man of Steel to stand, Luthor showed two lead cabinets. One contained Superboy, the other held kryptonite. If Superman opened Superboy's locker, Luthor would kill Superboy with the kryptonite. If the Man of Steel opened the kryptonite cabinet, he would die.
Superboy tapped the door to his cabinet, letting Superman know which one he was in. The Man of Steel was faced with an impossible choice.
Superman awoke to find himself alone. It had all been a dream. The story ended with the Man of Steel wondering what his choice would have been.
Of these early silver age Jerry Siegel stories, this has been my favorite so far. When I first read this story, I felt a little cheated by the cliffhanger ending. But after re-reading it and thinking about it, I decided to consider the story as a look into Superman's greatest fear: not being smart or powerful enough to save someone. Usually in stories that are mostly dream sequences, I can usually spot when the dream begins. This time I didn't. With the introduction of red kryptonite in the story, I accepted the appearance of Superboy as a believable result of red K exposure. Well done, Jerry, that was a good bit of storytelling.
Knowing some of the Siegel and Siegel story after Superman, I wonder how much, if any, of his own anger Jerry gave to Superman. In covering the Man of Steel's silver age stories, I don't think that I've seen him this angry in the stories we've covered so far. I admired Superboy for standing up to Superman, but he also showed himself to be an easily distracted teen. But then in dreams we don't always act as we do in reality. I wonder if Superman's treatment of Superboy was a reflection of how Mort Weisinger treated the talent working for him. But then, maybe I'm reading too much into the story.
Not only was Superman a grouch, he seemed to be a little full of himself when he thought of when he was Superboy, thinking that he wasn't this dumb. While Superboy stories showed him able to control his powers well, he didn't have the experience he's gained as an adult superhero.
After reading the story a few times, I decided that it really wouldn't have been a tough choice for Superman. I think that he would be willing to sacrifice himself to save others. He wouldn't want his adopted parents to suffer the loss of their son.
I give this story 4 Superman Capes out of 5.
Congo Bill made his 11th appearance as Congorilla in The One Ape Circus, written by Robert Bernstein and drawn by Howard Sherman.
Linda Lee secretly used her x-ray vision to save a toddler that had crawled into a plastic bag. While she was happy to use her superpowers in any way she could, she felt her super deeds were trivial when compared to Superman's.
As Supergirl, she decided to travel into the prehistoric past to have some exciting adventures without breaking Superman's ban on revealing herself to the world. (Leave it to a teenager to find a loophole.)
When she emerged in the prehistoric past, she saved a baby that had been snatched by a pterodactyl. She then tamed a brontosaurus (now called an apatosaurus) and rode it to explore her surroundings. Supergirl then used her pet brontosaurus to help some cavemen back across a river, after their crude bridge collapsed. The tribe's Chief invited Supergirl to dine with them, but she had second thoughts when she discovered that they ate everything raw.
A bolt of lightning struck a tree and began a fire, and so Supergirl showed the cave tribe how to keep the fire going. Their bonfire was doused by a wave from the river, caused by a fire breathing sea serpent. Supergirl saved the tribe from the serpent, and goaded it into using its fire breath to ignite the tribe's fire. She then returned to modern times.
The next day, the orphans toured a museum, and saw a stone carving from the stone age, which depicted a flying girl. Linda Lee saw that, as Supergirl, she had made history. I just hope Superman never sees this stone carving.
Obviously, cavemen and dinosaurs never existed together, but this was still a fun story, and better than the previous Supergirl story. It was quite a coincidence when she saved two young children in two different eras. She had a fun adventure, taming a dinosaur and interacting with cavemen. It was funny when she discovered they ate raw fish.
This was a fun, lighthearted prehistoric adventure, and I give it 4 Superman Capes out of 5, instead of 3, because it was such an improvement from the last Supergirl story.
Elsewhere in DC Comics, 32 titles carried the December or December 1959/January 1960 cover date.
Next Episode: Superman Family Comic Book Cover Dated November/December 1956: World's Finest Comics #85!
In 2 Weeks: Superman Comic Books Cover Dated January 1960: Superman #134 & Action Comics #260!
Check out SLIPSTREAM, a new web comic book written by jeffrey Taylor, co-host of the FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS podcast, and drawn by yours truly. Thanks to SUPERMAN HOMEPAGE .com contributor Adam Deschanel for putting the website together. http://www.clockworkcomics.co.uk/. It will begin November 2011.
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